Professor Emeritus Ayşe Buğra of Boğaziçi University, who gave a lecture at the panel organized by TEPAV in memory of Merih Celasun, said that basic income support is linked to the concept of equality of citizens. Bugra, “The basic income support to be granted to all citizens contributes to participation in social life. The idea of basic income is very important because it does not target people in need of social support and does not label anyone as poor.he said. Hacer Foggo, the coordinator of the CHP Office of Solidarity Against Poverty, who spoke at the panel, said:Times of crisis, times when poverty increases the most and causes children to inherit the cycle of poverty” mentioned.
Ayşe Buğra, Emeritus Professor at Boğaziçi University, said:Approaches to poverty and the ideal of citizen equality in social policy thinking and economicsHe gave a memorial lecture. Buğra, who is the first name to voice basic income support in Turkey, has historically spoken of poverty aggravated by the coronavirus outbreak.
In the panel that took place after the commemoration conference, in addition to Buğra, the coordinator of the Office of Solidarity against Poverty of the CHP, Hacer Foggo, and the professor emeritus of the department of economics of the University of Koç, Insan Tunalı, took part as speakers.
“Those who say they have no resources should be asked about their priorities”
Buğra explained why basic income support to be given to all citizens, regardless of social assistance need, is necessary, explaining the debates he created, as follows:
“The basic income support to be granted to all citizens contributes to participation in social life. The idea of basic income is very important because it does not target people in need of social support and does not label anyone as poor. Basic income is both a social benefit and it is not. Because there is no targeting problem, it is given to everyone. Economists ask “can this cost be covered” and “will this support encourage people to be lazy?” No one should tell me, “This country doesn’t have the money to establish social service centers in inner city areas.” It is a political choice. “What is your priority? you have to ask.”
“If there was basic income support, the people of Soma would be prevented from entering the same mine”
Stating that the most important form of participation in society is to work and people do not want to feel useless, Buğra said:Since traditional social benefits are cut when jobs are found, they may encourage laziness, but there is no such problem with basic income. However, it does not try to affect labor supply at all. There was a mining accident in Soma, a month later families went down to the same mine, basic income could have prevented that. It would encourage positive laziness” he said.
Stating that poverty is not only related to the lack of income but also to the uncertainty of life, Buğra said:It is very important to know if there will be money to buy bread for the house tomorrow. Knowing that he will have some income can keep people from losing their minds. You have to think about the amount accordingly, something that will meet a certain need will change people’s lives. You have to ask yourself if the resource is sufficient or if the cost is covered.” mentioned.
Hacer Foggo: “Poverty is inherited, the rate of children rejecting their parents’ inheritance is 85%”
Claiming to be a witness to the overturned misery, Hacer Foggo declared: “Times of crisis are when poverty increases the most and causes children to inherit the cycle of poverty. The rate of rejection of the inheritance of their parents is 85%, the debt is at this level. Especially with the problem of access to food that started during the epidemic, we see children with developmental disabilities in the houses we enter. It is a violation of human rights and the rights of the child. Children have learning difficulties because the frontal lobe of the brain cannot develop due to malnutrition. The social assistance provided does not provide a mechanism to protect the child, it is used for other needs.” he said.
Foggo spoke of the embarrassment of poverty and mothers who, even though they were laid off, had to knock on the same doors over and over again to get bread for their child. Foggo said the women create a livelihood strategy by using different things instead of napkins in times of economic crisis and making ready-made soup when they cannot buy baby food.They think the poor have no right to say no to a job. Unemployment benefits for people who do not accept the job offered in Adana İşkur have been removed, it is a violation of human rights. Maybe these people have a very good talent for singing, playing the violin, cutting hair.” mentioned.
Who is Merih Celasun?
Merih Celasun, whose memory TEPAV organized a panel, held various positions in the State Planning Organization, worked as head of the Department of Economic Planning and as a senior economist at the World Bank. Celasun began his academic life at METU in 1970 and continued at Bilkent University. He was Dean of the Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences and died in 2004.